Some Africans resist domination by the Chinese regime: Streets fill with protesters

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May 23, 2022 11:49 AM

Cameroonian authorities say Monday several hundred civilians took to the streets of Lolabe, a small coastal village on the banks of the Atlantic Ocean. The civilians said they were protesting the recent deal signed by the government for iron ore to be exported from their village and Lobe, the district where Lolabe is located.

Earlier this month, the government announced the $676 million high-grade iron ore mining deal with Sinosteel Cam S.A., a Cameroonian subsidiary of the state-owned Chinese miner. Cameroon said the deal will develop the Lobe iron ore mine located in the south of the country.

Opposition lawmaker and former presidential candidate Cabral Libii said he organized the protest.

Libii said the Cameroonian government has shown that it is neither transparent nor accountable by allowing Sinosteel to carry out a feasibility study on the quantity of iron ore in Lobe and authorizing the same company to exploit the iron ore. He said there is no guarantee that the estimates of the deposit are exact.

Libii also said a Cameroonian company should have been given a license to explore and exploit the natural resource instead of a foreign company that has no interest in developing Cameroon and moving its citizens out of poverty.

Speaking via telephone, Libii said the interests of the host community are not well spelled out in the exploitation agreement and there is nothing in the deal that compels the iron ore exploitation company to develop Lobe and Lolabe. He said an independent firm should be hired to conduct studies on the amount of iron ore in the region.

Local media including Vision 4 TV reported that police who deployed to the scene did not disperse the crowd because the protest was peaceful.
Cameroon says allegations by Libii that locals will not benefit from the project are unfounded.
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There have always been conflicts between Cameroonians and Chinese miners in the central African state. Cameroonians accuse Chinese miners of violating Cameroonian laws, which prohibit mining on riverbeds, swampy areas and waterfalls.

Cameroonians also say the Chinese in eastern gold mines do not help to develop villages, pay workers less than $3 after 12 hours of work and do not respect environmental norms.

Fred Duven is an economist and member of Dynamique Citoyenne, a Cameroonian civil society group. Duven says Cameroonians are angry because the government gives mining licenses to the Chinese when there are qualified Cameroonians who are ready to industrialize their country.

“Chinese companies come here with their manpower; they don’t help the community. Cameroonians who are worthy and wealthy can indulge into exploration business and can create greater employment than the direct employment the convention is trying to purport which depends on the whims and caprices of the Chinese company.”

https://www.voanews.com/a/cameroonian-villagers-protest-china-iron-ore-mining-deal-/6585546.html

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Chinese companies linked to illegal logging and mining in northern DRC

Collusion with Congolese officials enables illicit global trade in endangered timber and minerals through irregular permits and export quotas

by Gloria Pallares on 31 May 2022

  • An investigation by EL PAÍS/Planeta Futuro finds evidence of illegal extraction of endangered tree species, precious minerals and strategic metals headed for global markets.
  • The investigation reveals that Chinese-owned companies use ‘complaisance’ permits to log and export CITES II-listed Afrormosia, which international demand pushed to extinction in other African countries, and flags irregularities in the latest export quota. European countries will consider stricter measures on imports from the DRC.
  • Military-protected concessionaires have been illegally mining gold, diamonds and rare metals with prospecting licenses for more than a year. They use mercury, a neurotoxic pollutant, in waters communities use to fish, bathe and drink.
  • Mongabay has partnered with EL PAÍS/Planeta Futuro to publish this investigation in English. This story was produced with the support of the Rainforest Journalism Investigations Network (RIN) of the Pulitzer Center.

BASOKO, Congo — In Yaliwasa, northern DRC, logs from 200-year-old hardwood trees lie rotting deep into the world’s second largest rainforest. They were cut in a hurry to be exported to global processing hubs in Asia, then redistributed to luxury markets in China and beyond. Instead, the precious wood is sprouting orange fungi and crumbles to the touch.

Some of the logs are unmarked, but they all belong to Fodeco, a Chinese-owned company without industrial logging experience that was handed a concession three times the size of New York city in 2015. The company soon came into conflict with local communities over compensation, and they have since boycotted the removal of the timber.

“Other [Chinese] companies I’ve worked for pay policemen or the military to protect their interests, but we don’t have the money because we can’t get the wood to markets,” said concession manager Liga Guo. He is referring to Maniema Union, the holder of logging concessions illegally traded by a Congolese army general, General Gabriel Amisi Kumba, who was sanctioned by the US and the EU for human rights abuses in 2019.

“All I want is to extract the logs, ship the timber, get the hell out of here. But it is impossible to work like this. I left China to make a living, but this job is killing me,” he said, carrying a bag full of antiparasitic and antimalarial pills to his container home next to the Congo river.

Fodeco holds one of the 18 contracts successive ministers awarded in violation of the country’s 20-year moratorium on new industrial logging ”an outright sale of forestry concessions,” according to an audit by Congolese finance inspectors that was recently published following months of pressure by international NGOs and media.

Downstream, a subsidiary of the Hong Kong-registered Booming Group, is also harvesting hardwood in breach of DRC law, while nearby Xiang Jiang Mining is illegally dredging for precious and strategic minerals.

An investigation by EL PAÍS/Planeta Futuro has obtained evidence showing how Chinese-owned companies in northern DRC are illegally extracting natural resources using permits that amount to blank checks. The companies are extracting and exporting endangered tree species and minerals in breach of DRC law, and violating labor and human rights in collusion with officials.

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